Training Exercise Simulates HazMat Emergency
Dozens of firefighters, emergency medical technicians and staff from UNC Asheville participated in a large-scale hazardous materials training exercise on campus May 26.
The mock event involved a simulated accident involving a tractor-trailer carrying hazardous chemicals and a UNC Asheville shuttle bus filled with students.
A full complement of fire trucks, two large regional hazmat units and several ambulances rolled onto campus with sirens blaring. Firefighters wearing airpacks carefully approached the smoking bus and tractor-trailer to help evacuate the “victims”, played by volunteer students from UNC Asheville and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Institute. Asheville Fire Department also deployed its decontamination unit to wash chemicals from patients before they were rushed by ambulance to Mission Hospital.
The drill was staged by the City of Asheville Fire Department in cooperation with UNC Asheville Police, the university’s Emergency Management office, Mission Hospitals, Buncombe County and A-B Tech.
Funded by the Department of Homeland Security, the training exercise provided Asheville Fire personnel and university staff to evaluate how they would respond to this kind of emergency, according the UNC Asheville Police Chief Eric Boyce.
"We welcome the opportunity to work with the Asheville Fire Department and other regional emergency response agencies to help facilitate these full-scale training exercises on our campus. The hands-on experience of these exercises will increase the preparedness of all of our organizations to respond to these types of incidents and enable us to work together to ensure the safety of our students and the greater Asheville community,"
UNC Asheville Police Chief Eric Boyce.